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TEDxIU postpones fall conference until the spring due to COVID-19


The TEDxIndianaUniversity Fall Conference has been pushed back until the spring, according to the TEDxIndianaUniversity website. This event brings together speakers on local, national and international levels.

TEDxIU intern Russ Hensley attended as an audience member last year, and he praised the speakers. Coming from around the country and even the world, he said they have a wide variety of perspectives that gives students in Bloomington a sense of diversity and even belonging.

2019 speakers included Gavin Thurston, videographer for Planet Earth, Miles Cooley, celebrity attorney, and three IU professors, among others. 

But that feeling will have to wait until spring as the fall conference was postponed before a date was chosen. In considering postponing the conference, TEDxIU had to consider gathering size limits and the progress they made toward the conference's design. They originally planned a hybrid conference with online and in person components. But when gatherings were limited to 15 people in Bloomington, they decided to push the conference back until spring. 

“It was a very difficult decision, one we didn’t take lightly,” said TEDxIU president Adam Warner said. 

TEDxIU director of finance Ky Lewis said while the decision wasn't ideal, it’s given her team more time to work on aspects of a possibly hybrid virtual and online spring conference.

“I think it’s the most responsible choice to move it, even with social distancing and a very reduced capacity,” Lewis said.  

The conference's postponement however gives TEDxIU the opportunity to put on other events this semester.

Warner said they’re trying to use this as an opportunity to focus on both internal team-related exercises and external events. These external events will include partnerships with IU organizations, expert panels and events with local Bloomington groups.

TEDxIU already successfully put on an online event in the spring featuring an online speaker from Teach for America. Many of these events canbe enhanced now that they’re now online.

TEDxIU has an event that will be an international collaboration with a TEDx organization in Mumbai, India. The event will have a workshop and discussion about youth in the two different cultures. Because these events are now online, more voices can be included. Though Lewis saidit can be difficult for students to attend online meetings after a day full of Zoom classes, members said the events are worth it.

“Anyone can benefit” Lewis said. “Even if you consider yourself an expert on the topic of the salon we’re having, you’re always going to have a new viewpoint. There’s always going to be new ideas that come to it.”

Postponing the conference has allowed the organization to continue to spread ideas.

“It really gives us a chance for people to share those perspectives from all around the world,” Warner said. “I would say that’s kind of the best reason for people to come to these events — they do something very new and very important that’s unmatched in most of current society.”

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